Before purchasing an EHR, physicians need to make sure it will deliver a return on investment, and that means asking some tough questions, says guest blogger Paul Roemer.
(This is a guest column submitted by Paul Roemer, who blogs at HealthcareITStrategy.com)
A recent piece in iHealthBeat wrote, “Report Says Hospitals Could Save Billions by Implementing Health IT.” Indeed they could. Continuing to quote, U.S. hospitals could reap a total of $40 billion in annual savings if facilities effectively set up health IT strategies—a phrase curiously resonant with the name of my consulting firm—according to a recent McKinsey reportFierce Health IT).
I agree with the statements in that paragraph, but permit me to split a few hairs. Could and should have nothing to do with whether healthcare IT (HIT) will do anything other than drain the purses of providers. The ‘will HIT help save millions’ comes down to the strategy—as a sidebar, I encourage you to read Dr. Alberto Borges’ post, "A day in the life of a Physician EHR Meaningful User" (HCPlive, 8/24/2010).
HIT Strategy; without one, do not take out your checkbook. Buying what your neighbor bought, and assuming they did their homework, is not a strategy. Buying something because the sales-rep told you they had an amazing list of client references is not a strategy. These are shortcuts. Have you noticed none of the EHR providers were not wearing “I love my EHR” T-shirts at the last HFMA meeting?
My rule of thumb about Google is that if I cannot find something, it is because it does not exist. There are no good EHR RFPs available on Google. Here are a few thoughts on RFPs in case you want to use one—by the way, a good RFP makes a great addition to a vendor contract as it provides a written audit trail of what they contracted to do.
Anyway, those are my thoughts. There are a range of savings available if you have a good EHR strategy, pick a good system, and implement it correctly. If you pick the wrong one, you do not need to worry about calculating your ROI—there won’t be one.
Paul Roemer is a healthcare strategist with more than 25 years of experience in executive management. He is managing partner of Healthcare IT Strategy in Downingtown, PA, and is also Chief Imaginist of the Healthcare Idea Lab.